Thai Red Curry Chicken

There was a time I wouldn't eat any type of curry. Period! In fact if it was planned for dinner I would feign illness or simply go and hide in the root cellar. I hated it that much. I think my hatred of all things curry stems back to a train ride from Vancouver to Edmonton when I was a wee lad. My dad was employed by Canadian Pacific Transport (CP) and CP Transport employees received discounts on the CP Rail passenger trains, so we travelled from time to time back to Edmonton via train. It was on one of these trips that curry imprinted indelibly on my brain and it took nearly 25 years to remove.

In the dining car they were serving curried chicken to the hungry diners in the steerage compartment and we received our ration like the rest of the fools aboard the train and I consumed it eagerly as I recall. In no time flat did unpleasant symptoms arrive in my digestive system and the chicken was eager to exit the confines in a very speedy manner using whatever exit was available at the time, in fact, it left by all available means. After that episode I swore off curry since I was sure it was the curry and not the chicken that cause my discomfort, such was the reasoning of a 10 year old boy. Damn CP Rail food service...

Years later I began to sample curry dishes if only to get my wife off my back since she was always willing to chide me when I turned my nose up at any curry. I would taste the curry dish then proclaim,”That tastes terrible!” or some such utterance. Slowly as she cajoled me into tasting it I began to be less fervent in my proclamations of not liking it and actually began to like it. Sort of.

Chinese/Asian dishes with curry were the first to break down my wall of resistance. Singapore Rice Noodles became a favourite of mine, as did curried squid, clams, beef and other items tossed with different blends of curry. I was hooked on curry. Almost. I confined my curry eating sorties to Chinese origins and poo-pooed all others.

Not until a family friend made Butter Chicken and I was forced into trying some due to propriety and good mannerssinces we were dining at their home did I realize that other non-Chinese curry is very good. Very, very good in fact. Mike is a tremendous cook and his Butter Chicken was top notch. Slowly as time wore on I began to cook more and more curry dishes in my home and experimented with many recipes to arrive at a flavour I liked. Thankfully the flavours I like are well received by my family and the curry dish repertoire grew larger.

Now in my home I have many different curry pastes and powders to choose from, and often make my own blends to suit what I am trying to cook. Thailand curry. Japanese curry. Indian curry. All curry in fact is well received in my pantry and is prepared often. One of the favourites is a Red Thai Curry Chicken I have been making for a long time (see recipe below). Butter Chicken, Beef Vindaloo, Yellow or Green Thai Curry for pork or shrimp are fantastic, to name but a few.

I usually have Madras Curry. Red, yellow and green Thai curry paste along with Garam Masala and other spice blends waiting their turn to show off on the table. So now I'm a curry nut and use it often and everyone likes them (well not everyone, Ron seems to have an aversion to curry) and I enjoy making them. The smells do linger for a few days I admit, but it is a smell I like so it doesn't bother me.The recipe below is easy to prepare and while not traditional preparation it is a tasty and quick meal to whip up after work and make for great leftovers in the lunch bucket the next day.

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces, season with salt & pepper
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, minced fine
3 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (3tbsp is better!))

1 stalk lemongrass cut in large pieces for easy removal

2 400 ml cans coconut milk

juice of 1 fresh lime (hand squeezed)
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 red pepper, julienned (toothpick thick) 

 1 - 2 cups chicken stock
Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat and add oil, heat to smoking point, put chicken into hot skillet (I use my T&T Market Cast Iron Wok!!!) and brown well. Remove from pan.
Into hot pan add garlic, ginger, red curry paste and onion sauté until onion is tender, about 2 minutes. During the sauté add chicken broth to deglaze the pan and gather up all chicken flavors. 
Add lemon grass, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the browned chicken pieces. Bring to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, reducing by a third. 
  Add red peppers and cook for 1 minute.
 Serve with jasmine rice, saffron rice or whatever you like.

Snowy Palms Resort